Chapter 4: A New Journey Begins (Part 2)

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Not long after, their horses galloped in exhaustion towards the gates of the keep. The stallions took the fair rest they deserved for carrying such burdens over the course of four days, in the well managed stables west of the second doorway.

The doors of the main room were opened. Many warriors: from Paldaron to as far south as Drakari, each with features unique to them despite most primarily in uniform such as Carrion and Valora were.

The loud crowd grew silent, for it had been years since any of them had seen the two brothers, and quite a sight it was for their arrival to be so sudden, unaware to them.

They dropped everything they were carrying and immediately ran to them, like children greeting a noble lord, for they had many things to tell them in such little time.

"Theodren? That you?... A we' tot ye were! Now taller than I? I'm insulted." One familiar member said, tapping Theodren's shoulder with a heavy chuckle, low and raspy. Theodren laughed back with a smile, slapping his back in greeting.

The sounds quickly grew, a chaotic echo to the large stone room lit by many candles.

"Is that still your brother? Surprised he survived the war. Seems as scrawny as I remember." Another commented in a joking manner, looking to Zoran while speaking to Theodren.

"He's stronger than he looks." Theodren replied, also turning to Zoran, then back to the man, becoming defensive in both his stance and facial response to him.

A loud bash followed by echoing footsteps was suddenly heard. Everyone looked on towards whatever it was, a sound further within the fortress.

"Enough! They aren't here to visit. No time to be filled in rabbles about their personal affairs. As you were." A deep, violent, yet slow and sophisticated voice proclaimed in the distance.

They all left the scene with disappointment filling their voices, returning to their crowded seats.

"It has been long, Sven. I ordered you once that they would come immediately, and here you are returning so late in the night, a week past when I expected." The man continued, giving off a serious look filled in minor disappointment.

"Ah yes-yes! I'm truly sorry sir! What must be done as punishment?" Sven said with dread in quickness, resting his knees towards him.

"I'm not some abusive slave master and you my servant. Be free to do as you please, within reason. You are your own being, after all." He looked back at him, pushing him away with his fine leather cloak. "Off with you, then."

"Aye!" Sven said, running quickly to his bed chambers nervously, a tremble in his step.

They all stood looking towards the man, quietly. There was a long pause, followed by footsteps with the man heading towards the stairway leading up to the highest tower in the guild.

"Where are you going? I thought you needed us to discuss something important!" Theodren proclaimed.

"And we do...this way, please." The man, known to be the master of the guild, said while turning his head to them slowly.

The others casually followed, looking to each other silently as still despite years of service under that man, they were unable to read him.

They were led up ancient stairs only used for certain occasions, such as in defense from dragons. The man lit a glass covered lantern, leading up the steps, warning them not to stay far behind. The darkness and silence of the steps would certainly be haunting to Sven, such as most normal people would. It was unnaturally silent, only faded voices from those below them, turning to nothingness when reaching its pitch black summit. There stood a metal door, designed with only the most fire resistant of materials: a dark steel woven with dragon skin. Only he held the key to open it, and made it so, with a creak and metallic bang against the stone brick wall by the door as they entered the room.

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